Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) was left frustrated after taking second place behind Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank SunGard) in Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday. The 24-year-old had bridged up the Saxo Bank rider in between the Varenstraat and Vossenhol with 20 kilometres to go and together with the remnants of an early break, held the peloton at bay.
However coming into the final 300 meters, with the bunch bearing down, Thomas hit the front, effectively leading out Nuyens to the line and allowing him to come through for the win.
"I'm a bit annoyed with myself because I saw the bunch coming up and got a bit nervous with 300 to go round the final corner. Even though I knew it was a headwind. I'm really annoyed with myself actually," Thomas told Cyclingnews.
Despite his disappointment with the result, Thomas deserves much credit for his performance. On the Eikenberg, he was forced to chase back to the leaders after a mechanical problem. And when Nuyens put the hammer down on both the Kwaremont and near Vossenhol, it was Thomas who answered both moves.
"I had a bit of a mechanical early on and was out the back on the Eikenberg, but if I'd known the roads better I would have gone a bit steady. I was a bit nervous and was fighting to get to the front and didn't really have the legs in the final 10 kilometres."
Coming into the finish Nuyens and Thomas shared the work as Frederic Amorison (Landbouwkrediet) and Rob Goris (Veranda's Willems-Accent) both slipped back.
Asked if a different tactical approach to the final kilometre would have ended in a different result, Thomas said, "If I'd sat off him and tried to hit him, maybe, because there was a bit of a headwind, but I just got excited and nervous, went too early and messed things up for myself. My legs are good, just hopefully I'll finish it off next time."
Thomas was magnanimous in defeat, praising Nuyens as the strongest man in the race.
"He was the best today and driving it at the end. It was a quality ride by him. I didn't feel too good by the end but tried to do my bit. It's good for the next few races and the whole team is looking strong. Hopefully we can get some good results."